Is Dynamic Pricing Just Bad Business?

Since time immemorial, the success of a merchant was largely determined on how skillfully he sized up the naïf or the swell entering his shop. Fixed retail pricing was an innovation of the 20th century, perfect for the mass market era when merchants no longer could know each customer well.

“Through most of history, pricing has been personalized and dynamic,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, co-director of the Center for eBusiness at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who studied historical bazaars and flea markets for a better understanding of fine-tuning pricing. “In the 20th century, there was no easy way to personalize. Everything was standardized. One price fits all. Now with the Internet, we can go back to it.”

That’s the tantalizing theory, at least. The Internet allows a merchant to once again know the customer, know what merchandise he has bought before, what other sites he has visited (and how much they charge), and how eager he is to get the lowest price. Several software companies are using microeconomic theory, mathematics, a little psychology, and computer powers to analyze customer demand and set the best price.

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What is Manifestation Determination and why it matters

I am a big believer that you can manifest anything. Read the Alchemist, or the Help, and learn what I mean in detail. But in short, you can create whatever you are thinking. So you determinate to manifest your desire. Actually, the term “Manifestation Determination” is used more often.

When a child with a disability behaves so badly that the school would like to remove the child, the school must officially determine if the child’s behavior was caused by his or her disability. This hearing, a Manifestation Determination Review is needed.

I think that sometimes we are behaving badly too and Manifestation Determination is needed to change it.

For instance, when you are in a bad mood, don’t you ever notice how many crazy maniacs you attract that day? Or when you are smiling and happy, how many wonderful opportunities are presented. Precisely, this is what I mean, whatever you are thinking and believing in, it will in some way materialize. Even big extravagant desires. Here is an example:

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A Work Call

My heart is pounding. I just got off the phone with a senior government official regarding a work matter. The fact that she’s called me today means that this is a critical issue for the government and for my company.

She said she couldn’t discuss the full matter right now but could she call me back in an hour. I said yes. I then sat back down on the lawn chair and continued to watch my son play in the sandbox with his friend. I’m not officially working today but when you’re a part-time working mom, you know that there is no real “day off.” At any moment you might have to switch gears.

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Looking for Work – the Job Fair

When you are looking for work, you will more than likely hit all the usual resources: friends and family, other members of your network, classified ads and job boards. But there is a very important resource you may be missing: job fairs.

Job fairs can either be held in real life or virtually online. They resemble what you might expect to find at a country fair or craft fair expect the vendors are really companies trying to recruit employees. Each company present will have a representative or more on hand to talk about the company, its mission, its style of management and job opportunities. They might have literature to give prospective employees and most will be will to talk with you and take your resume.

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The shared economy: re-thinking the “American Dream”

The times are changing. American’s are no longer wanting to, and in some cases, able to buy everything their hearts desire. Welcome to the shared economy where leasing, borrowing and even selling your spare time can lead to a happier existence.

“The time is right to buy,” advises billionaire finance wiz, Warren Buffet, and clearly this is a big part of the American Dream.  Buy! Buy! Buy!

To be happy and successful, you must own a home.  You must own a car…  and an expensive purse…  and a dog…  and a bike…  and some high-end power tools.

Accurate? I’m not so sure anymore.

In Suzy Orman’s 2012 book (we know she can be a bit irritating at times, but we think she’s nailed this issue on the head) The Money Class:  Learn to Create the New American Dream she announces that the historical hallmarks of the American Dream—“the home, the job security, the education, the retirement”—are dead and can no longer be relied upon for a sense of financial security.  Period.  She recommends living well below your means in order to build up cash savings that can cover your expenses for eight months in case of a job loss or similar emergency.

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The Biggest Value in Value Investing…

By far, the biggest value that “value” investing has is that its principles can be applied – successfully – to a broad range of asset classes. It’s a mental and emotional framework that provides a recipe for success. To some, this may be a “duh” moment.

However, the reason I bring this up is that many investors pigeon-hole themselves into only publicly traded common stocks with value investing and ignore potentially fantastic returns in other assets. If you were to look at the portfolio of Baupost Group manager Seth Klarman, you would probably see a broad array of assets, some of which would probably leave you scratching your head a bit. But the mental framework is being applied.

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A Better Life

Call them mister – South Carolina program aims to boost number of black male teachers at elementary level

Mark Joseph and Barry Tolbert are passionate about becoming elementary school teachers and have learned to ignore the skeptical looks, the discouraging comments about the profession and the fears of low pay.

”Lots of families encourage kids to be doctors and lawyers just to make money,” says Tolbert, 19, of Charleston. ”I think a teacher is the most effective person in America. You don’t hear folks say ‘I look up to my lawyer. My lawyer has done so many things for me.’ But teachers make a difference in lives.”

The young men are in a program developed by Clemson University to address the looming shortage of teachers. This program, though, plans over the next four years to train 240 young black South Carolina men to be elementary school teachers. The program, named ”Call Me MISTER” after the 1970 Sidney Poitier movie They Call Me MISTER Tibbs, offers the participants full college tuition, room and board and small stipends in exchange for teaching for a minimum of four years in South Carolina after graduation.

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Why clothes donation matters to YOU

It is that time of year again- the seasons are changing and the fall wardrobe is about to come out from storage. Here is my biggest issue, I hold on to things that are dirty, tired, run-down, and have seen better days.

That is right, I hold on to items that simply do not make me feel good anymore. The same way I insist on riding my old car that is economical anymore.

The same with clothes. If you are anything like I am, tossing out clothes, accessories and purses is a really difficult task. There are memories attached to those skinny jeans that haven’t fit in five years. Those stained shirts can be covered by a sweater, right? Continue reading

Are gifted students missing out on quality education?

Is your child one of the gifted students are missing out on quality education? Chintan is a “bookish” middle school student. Unfortunately, it is not cool to be “bookish” at his school. He is teased for studying eighth-grade math while still in the seventh grade. Still, even the eighth-grade math is too easy and boring for Chintan. He needs to be challenged to his full potential and surrounded by intellectual peers.  Sadly without help to grow both emotionally and mentally, Chintan will never live up to his potential (Davidson and Davidson 128-129).

Signed into law on January 8, 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was intended to raise the standards of special education. NCLB was created to give underachieving students better educational opportunities, thus closing the achievement gap between the gifted and struggling learners. The United States Department of Education organizes NCLB into four main points.

First, the Act declares stronger accountability for annual school progress results. Secondly, NCLB allows states to have flexibility with federal education funds. Third, NCLB assures the use of proven education methods. In fact, federal funding is set aside specifically for programs that work to improve student learning.  Finally, NCLB declares more choices for parents. In low-performing schools, parents may transfer their child to a better performing school within their district at the expense of the original school.

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Business leaders should have learned from Pope John Paul II

Let’s go back and take a closer look at what business leaders could – and perhaps should – have learned from a remarkable leader, Pope John Paul II.

“Be not afraid,” was one of Pope John Paul II’s favorite sayings, words that should give more leaders the courage and backbone to carry out their mission, says Laura Nash, senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School and co-author of Church on Sunday, Work on Monday.

So many years after the Enron scandal broke, business remains in the throes of corporate scandal. Ethics and moral courage are among the hottest topics. This article highlights some comments from experts for some of the leadership lessons that Pope John Paul II left behind.

Of course, the pope is one tall benchmark. But one quality of a leader is an ability to stretch.

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